Van Helsing is usually portrayed as a cool character. He’s also often the hero. Not here, though. In Phantom in the Twilight, he’s a baddie through and through, and he has his sights set on Chris.
— Coincidentally enough, Ton is also staring at the same picture, but she doesn’t notice Chris’s reflection at all. Instead, she recognizes her dear friend’s hat.
— So we immediately cut to Shinyao and see the girl feed her lil’ pumpkin buddy some carbonara. I had no idea jack o’lanterns were big connoisseurs of Italian cuisine.
— Either there’s something very odd about the perspective in this shot, or those are really, really huge plates.
— Unfortunately, Chris and Shinyao’s peaceful evening is about to be rudely interrupted. This is why we gotta stop the dangerous act of “swatting,” folks. People have died over this!
— You’d think the English government would have an issue with Van Helsing’s operation running about, doing whatever the hell they want. But this is anime, so all those considerations can instantly be handwaved away.
— Looking cool, Chris, looking cool. I’m still flabbergasted that this is a character designed specifically to appeal to a female audience. Granted, I’m not a woman, but try as I might, I just can’t imagine how anyone could find Chris’s outfit remotely attractive.
— Van Helsing’s goons aren’t the only ones here, because our bishies are also on the scene. Hell, Vlad even makes a very sensible suggestion. Unfortunately, they don’t get very far before a helicopter arrives to whisk Shinyao and Chris away. Toryu hilarious whips out a bazooka, because that’s a reasonable reaction.
— Try as he might, even Luke’s super stretchy arms can’t catch up to the helicopter. Vlad tries to tail the bad guys as a colony of bats, but he’s thrown off by…. what? Tiny mirrors?
— Does Vlad look elongated here or is it just me?
— I don’t really understand how Shinyao’s hairstyle works.
— The next thing we see is Van Helsing whipping a tied up Chris. That’s pretty lewd, Mr. Vampire Hunter. But jokes aside, we learn a few interesting tidbits in this conversation. For instance, Haysin is not an Umbra. He’s human through and through. In fact, he’s supposed to be working with Van Helsing’s organization, but obviously, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
— Also, Van Helsing’s organization calls itself the Midnight Sun. Now, that sounds like a cool name, but I have no clue what it has to do with hunting Umbras. All it makes me think of is living near the Arctic.
— Back at the cafe, Ton is prepared to rescue Shinyao even though she has no clue who or what she’s up against. I mean, if an organization has armed soldiers and the ability to operate a helicopter in the middle of London, I think it’s pretty risky for one human girl and her three bishie monsters to go up against them.
— In any case, Van Helsing decides to drop by the cafe to make his presence known. And also dump copious amounts of exposition on us, because who doesn’t love that?
— According to the bad guy, Umbras are responsible for all of history’s wars. That’s pretty shitty, because I actually think it’s important to understand why wars start. To blame that all on greedy monsters in the shadows is lame.
— Vlad counters, however, that coexistence won out after World War II. As a result, Midnight Sun lost its power and influence. I don’t really understand this, though. After all, our bishies still have to hide their presence from humans. People like Vlad also insist that humans and Umbras can’t ever form close relationships. Nevertheless, I’m supposed to believe that coexistence is now the name of the game? Eh.
— Since governments no longer want to fund Midnight Sun’s activities, Van Helsing turned to technology. Namely, mobile app technology! Oooh, how very prescient of him. Basically, he’s the one behind Snowmary, the company responsible for Magic Mirror. That’s the amazing app that can apparently tell your future with startling accuracy. Somehow, this same app makes a ton of money. I guess you have to pay money for the app to read your fortune? In any case, the company’s profit has been funneled into Midnight Sun.
— Great, I love all this talk, but can we get a move on already?
— Van Helsing tells Ton that he has all intentions of returning Shinyao to her, but she must come alone. Also, she must cut all ties with her bishies. What’s the opposite of “bros before hoes” anyways? Besties before testes? Anyways, good people usually don’t use humans as bargaining chips.
— Nevertheless, Vlad doesn’t think it’s such a bad idea if Ton never gets involved with Umbras again. After all, he tried to erase her memories at the start of the series. He never really wanted to get her involved in the first place. Our heroine is sad that he doesn’t seem to care all that much about their friendship. I mean, c’mon, he’s lived for centuries. On the other hand, he’s known for what? A few weeks? Her time with him is nothing but a blip on his life.
— Unfortunately, Luke has gone missing. At the end of the day, Chris is still his brother, so werewolf dude is not gonna let his family suffer.
— At first, Luke gets the upper hand on Van Helsing, but crates of wolfsbane suddenly fall from the sky. Y’see, because it’s wolfsbane, it’s bad for Luke! But last I heard, wolfsbane is also toxic to humans. I don’t care if Van Helsing has a dainty, lil’ handkerchief to cover his mouth and nose. I doubt he would be able to casually taunt Luke like this.
— Next up is Toryu. For some reason, our bishies agree to fight Van Helsing one-on-one. Maybe they’re overconfident, because you would think a dude with a billion guns under his coat is heavily favored against Van Helsing. Unfortunately for him, liquid nitrogen ends up being the great equalizer. Shrug.
— That leaves us with just Vlad to try and deal with Van Helsing and save his buddies. Also, there’s Ton, but her primary concern is to secure Shinyao’s safety. Unfortunately, the episode ends here, so we’ll have to wait a week to see how this all goes down. I know you guys are just dying to find out what happens next!
— Why am I still watching this how? Eh, I don’t really know. It certainly doesn’t get the blog a lot of views. Still, there’s nothing else to watch on Mondays, I guess. I’ve also pretty much written off the summer season. It has some fun, new shows (e.g. Sirius the Jaeger and High Score Girl), but nothing that really gets me going. Nothing that really stimulates the grey matter. Plus, I’ve been blogging continuously since last September. I don’t want to quit, so at this point, I’m just taking it easy until I have something meatier to sink my teeth into in the fall.
— Also, the next SAO series is out then, and I gotta cover that.